Afraid that 15-pound dumbbell or those protein-packed shakes will make you look bulky? Noah Neiman and Patrick Frost, two of Barry’s Bootcamp’s most popular trainers, are here to tell us why, when it comes to our fitness facts, we might have it all wrong.
FALSE: There’s an ideal time of day to work out.
From a metabolic and muscular development perspective, it makes no difference whether you work out at 6AM or 6PM. But certain times of day may be easier to commit to. “The ideal time to workout is the time that you will consistently keep, but from my experience working with clients who are trying to adopt an exercise routine, early morning is best,” says Neiman. “People tend to have an easier time keeping healthier habits throughout the day when they work out early on and they’re less likely to make excuses as to why they can’t go to their scheduled exercise session.”
FALSE: Heavy weights will bulk you up.
“I see women every day who fear lifting heavy weights because they’re afraid they’ll get huge, man-like muscles. This is just not the case,” says Neiman. “With a sensible diet and heavy resistance training you will burn more calories and build the toned body that every gimmicky workout DVD or magazine tries to sell you.” And strength-training is good for your bones. As Frost notes, “osteoporosis is a real thing!”
TRUE: Both men and women can benefit from protein shakes.
“We could all benefit from protein, especially when training hard,” says Frost. “Be careful though; some protein shakes are packed with calories from fat, so make sure you’re keeping track of calories and are aware of where they’re coming from throughout the day.”
FALSE: You need to work out for at least an hour to reap benefits.
Countless studies have shown that intensity trumps duration when it comes to fitness. “Three intense 15-minute sessions a week have proven to be an adequate amount of stimulus to put the body in a healthy state,” says Neiman, who adds that we should ditch the “hour-long elliptical battles while watching Glee, the two-hour jogs, and futile workout sets squeezed in between taking fishy face Instagram pictures in the gym mirror.” Instead, he says, work out with a purpose and go hard via high intensity interval training.
FALSE: There’s no such thing as working out too much.
“Your body needs recovery,” explains Frost. “You will not be doing it any favors by pushing too far past your limits. You could possibly rupture your muscle cells and cause your body some major damage. Listening to your body and its needs are key.” That said, while it has been shown that the body gets stronger when it rests, that only applies when you’re actually working out hard enough to earn those rest days.
TRUE: Muscles burn more calories than fat.
“A body that has more muscle than fat mass will, at rest, burn more calories throughout the day,” explains Neiman. “Muscle is essentially a thermogenic firecracker making the body more adept at metabolizing food. It also takes more calories to support active muscle tissue as opposed to the dead tissue that fat is.”
FALSE: Switching up your workout is not important. If you like doing one thing, just stick with it.
The key to avoiding a workout plateau is to constantly shock your body with something new. Our bodies are smart and adaptive and as we get better at performing a particular exercise there is a diminishing calorie burn. “Doing the same workouts week after week is also monotonous and can lead to over training and injury,” says Frost, who recommends switching up your routine every month.
TRUE: It doesn’t matter if you eat/drink immediately after your workout.
“It’s more important to eat well and stay hydrated throughout the day,” explains Neiman. “Studies as to whether there is a magic hour after a workout session when you NEED to eat have been inconclusive. From my own experience I do like to have a concentration of filtered water, protein, and carbs right after a workout because I truly feel depleted from a hard workout session. If you feel like you need it, eat. If you don’t, then don’t. Like I said, it’s far more important to look at your dietary habits over the course of a day than it is during the hour or two window after a workout.”